Centre proves a guiding light

THE attitude to learning and behaviour of pupils who attend the Amber Centre in Huntingdon is exemplary, according to Ofsted inspectors. This is the first time Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education – has inspected the centre, and its report sta

THE attitude to learning and behaviour of pupils who attend the Amber Centre in Huntingdon is exemplary, according to Ofsted inspectors.

This is the first time Ofsted - the Office for Standards in Education - has inspected the centre, and its report stated that the systems for students' care, support and guidance were outstanding.

It also commended the centre for having a "talent in changing the outlook of students for the better" and that "it achieves this with a robust programme of care, support and guidance."

It stated that the teaching and learning were good, and students' personal development and well-being were outstanding.


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In a letter given to pupils explaining the findings, inspectors said they had left the centre "impressed by how sensible and mature the pupils were, and how well they were preparing for leaving school." The staff were commended for being very knowledgeable and skilful in helping to bring out the best in the pupils.

Inspectors said achievement was good with "parents commenting on their amazement at the transformation in their children's interest in school and learning."

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The report added that "parents are full of praise for the changes they perceive in their children."

Leadership and management were described as good, with inspectors commending the centre for creating a "haven for vulnerable young people."

The report described the headteacher as "an inspiration" and added that "she is unflappable in the face of the considerable challenges the centre faces.

"These essential qualities of leadership ensure staff keep a clear perspective in their work, which enables them to manage well."

Headteacher Janet Heathcote said: "Everyone at the centre is thrilled about the report.

"It is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the staff.

"We are particularly pleased that the students can feel that they are part of a place which has been judged to be successful."

The only area for improvement was for the centre to plan and provide appropriate courses in science, and to ensure the plans for teaching in all other subjects are in place.

The centre is also encouraged to continue the development of an effective system for tracking students' progress for the purpose of raising achievement further.

INFORMATION: The Amber Centre is a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) that opened three years ago and caters for 55 students, aged 14 to 16, from Huntingdonshire who have found the traditional school setting unsuitable for their needs.

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